We sat down to talk to Elisa Repo, the new 2014-2015 Finnish FLTA at Indiana University.
About the IAUNRC
In 1962, Indiana University became home to the Uralic and Altaic Language and Area Center, which in 1981 was renamed the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC). For the last 50 years, IU has gathered leading specialists, impressive library collections, and top-quality academic resources to create the nation's premier program in Central Eurasian Studies. It has additionally utilized these resources to provide quality training and outreach programs that continue to serve the entire country.
IU's greatest concentration of Central Eurasian expertise and instruction is located in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies (CEUS). CEUS and other IAUNRC-associated faculty are specialists on civilizations stretching from the Baltics, Hungary, and Turkey to Central Asia, Tibet, and Mongolia. They pursue both historical and contemporary analysis in a wide range of disciplines, including anthropology, business, comparative literature, economics, folklore, history, journalism, linguistics, music and drama, political science, public administration, and religious studies. Thanks in part to funding from the IAUNRC, the Department of Central Eurasian Studies is able to offer multiple levels of instruction in many of the languages indigenous to the Center’s area of interest, including Estonian, Finnish, Hungarian, Kazakh, Mongolian, Persian, Tajik, Tibetan, Turkish, Uyghur, and Uzbek. Other living and classical languages of Central Eurasia are offered as well, although with less frequency, including Chagatai, Evenki, Kyrgyz, Manchu, Mordvin, and Turkmen.
Indiana University houses outstanding print and electronic resources for Inner Asian and Uralic studies. The main library holds 100,000 volumes on Central Eurasia, including the largest Tibetan and Estonian collections of any American university. IUs other specialized collections contain another 35,000 items relevant to the Center’s region of interest. The Center continues to build its own collections within the broader structure of the IU libraries, while also making them more accessible to patrons across the country.
IAUNRC's active and growing outreach program serves several vital constituencies. The Center is creating new curriculum materials for teaching about Central Eurasia at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. Faculty affiliated with the Center have also developed an outstanding record of service to government, business, and philanthropic organizations, as well as to other post-secondary institutions. Finally, many of the Centers most successful outreach activities – in-school cultural activities, videoconference offerings, and online publicity efforts – have enabled us to share our resources with the general public and build a broader awareness of the increasingly important region on which we focus.